Thursday, February 05, 2015

Rising Sky

I walked down past the five cedars, last night, thinking: "this is basically it: this is the last but one of the phases of my life. Now there's fifteen or twenty years, with luck, before one of us is dying and the other is caretaker. And that will be the last phase, because I don't imagine either of us will long outlast the other."

That will be a busy and heart-wearing time, whether I'm doing the dying or the looking-after. So this, really, is the last time to think, and to put straight whatever is remains crooked, if I can.

It is time, above all, to jettison everything I own or do because of the hypothetical future in which I will have come into my own. I've already come into my own, as far as I'm going to do it. And this time will pass in a twinkling, like an ace buried in a card-sharper's deck. Now you see it, now you don't!

So. Pass as much time as possible under the sky, with the moon and stars. Forget all the sowing and self-training and accumulative strategies. This is harvest time. Work hard to bring in what I've already planted, and feast when the work is done. Other people are doing the planting now, for other harvests.

(Of course, I could be wholly wrong. Life has a way of overturning expectations, and if new responsibilities come my way I hope I'll meet them boldly and wholeheartedly.)

Looking backward, it's clear how heavy the hand of necessity has been. Looking forward, I can imagine all sorts of creativity and bold movements of the will: but looking back I mostly see things that I was driven to do by fate of character. I could not really have done anything else. So pride and regret would be equally misplaced: I did what I had to do. I was a slow, deep-thinking boy, easily flustered and easily deflected, stubborn in my perceptions, deeply loyal in temperament. Bad at resisting carnal temptations, but good at resisting spiritual ones. The stories pretty much wrote themselves, given that. And here I am, the same boy, costumed absurdly in a pot belly and a white beard: if I'm in the script even as an attendant lord, the prompter seems to have forgotten me.

The tide's coming in, but that's nothing to fret about. I'll go on doing what I do best: appreciating what's beautiful and close at hand, walking under the stars, reading about far countries and distant times, and letting the rising sky lap against me.


Sabine said...

This has touched me a lot. You have found such careful and honest words. Thank you.
I always imagined that age and getting old would come about with insights and purpose but so far have been struggling. Your post gives me hope!
Harvest time, indeed.

A few days ago I caught my daughter handing out the same patronising advice to me that I have been handing out to my father as an adult daughter over the years. A bad taste stayed with me all day until I called her back and, well, we had a good laugh. But that's her prerogative.

What else can we do?

rbarenblat said...

Some of what you do best is what I do best too, I think. So much here resonates with me. Am I wise enough to listen, at 40? God only knows; ask me again in ten years. :-)